Regular readers will know that I've used GreenPower as a means of saving battery power on an Android device, either a ‘phone or tablet. In the last few weeks I have been experimenting with LeanDroid and it's impressed me for a couple of reasons.
LeanDroid is available free or a premium option, costing less than the price of a coffee for the premium version. The premium version adds a couple of extra features to the basic application.
The first is that Leandroid is a tiny application. It's quoted as being 156 KB on the Google Play Store, whereas GreenPower is around 2.6 MB. When installed, LeanDroid takes up around 900 KB on my 2013 Nexus 7 compared with 7.7 MB for GreenPower, although I am using ART on my device and this increases the size of applications.
The size of the application is not an issue for most of the devices that I use apart from my original HTC Desire, where every kilobyte counts. However, not everybody has capacious application memories available and for these users, LeanDroid's frugal use of space is especially welcome.
The second is simplicity. LeanDroid has fewer options than most of the battery saver applications available. This means that there are fewer options to tweak and in some respects, the application isn't as fully featured as some of the alternatives… but, and this is a significant but, the app dispenses with the options as the developer has picked the most sensible choice for most people.
For many people, this is excellent: in the words of one endearing client, “don't want to deal with all those fussy geek things like Wifis and three gees.”
Options are limited to picking what radios to control (data, WiFi, Bluetooth), how long before these are shut down and the times when the device will keep the radios on or off. The premium version has the inactivity option enabled, which is a neat little feature if, for example, you stream music over Bluetooth.
One example of LeanDroid's developer picking the default action is where the user manually disables a radio, such as WiFi. Here, LeanDroid will not re-activate that radio as part of the normal screen on / off behaviour. Some applications give the user a choice of behaviour but I like that it picks the most logical thing to do.
LeanDroid, then, has a small memory footprint and is easy to use. But how does it stack up in day to day use? The answer here is “as expected,” that is, when the Internet radios are disabled, battery life is much improved. You'll get the most from the application if you are able to put your device down for long periods of time, whereas if you check the device for notifications every few minutes you're not going to notice any improvement in battery life (and perhaps a reduction).
I've found that LeanDroid is effective when used on my Nexus 7 tablet and especially the Nexus 10, where the device spends long periods idling and where with the WiFi running, the device will sip at the battery. With LeanDroid doing its magic, the battery barely moves.
As part and parcel of writing this article, I chatted with Flaviu Ciobanu, the CEO of TeqTic, LeanDroid's developer and he was kind enough to answer a few questions that I had about LeanDroid, so I asked him what his inspiration was behind the application.
“I wrote LeanDroid with the sole purpose of squeezing out the most battery power from our devices. I was using an LG Nitro HD and 2 hours of use was all I would get with active data connections. I noticed with data off, the phone would fare much better. After browsing for similar apps, I decided the ones available were either buggy or bloated with other complicated functions. The idea behind LeanDroid was to save as much battery power behind the scenes by restricting data connections when the user is likely not using the phone anyway.”
That's great Flaviu. One of my favourite features of LeanDroid is how small the application. How did you manage to keep it so small?
“LeanDroid was written from scratch with efficiency in mind and a simplistic yet functional design. The size is kept low as there are no custom graphics included other than the app icon. The code has been written and refactored to be as efficient as possible. Compiler optimizations further reduce the size of the production apk.”
So looking to the future, what plans do you have for the app?
“The biggest addition in LeanDroid's future will be the addition of root only features, such as being able to disable GPS, and switching to airplane mode. Also in the plans are a widget, support for dual SIM phones, and a simple counter of time spent disconnected from data connections as they had been disconnected by LeanDroid.”
That's great. And finally, I'm curious; what devices do you use to test the app, please?
“LeanDroid is routinely tested on a Nexus 5, but also on a Nexus 4, Galaxy S2, and Galaxy S3.”
Alright Flaviu, many thanks for your time and good luck with LeanDroid!